Melissa James has been to Hobart once, with family and friends, and ‘absolutely loved it’. She tells me she actually, ‘warmed to the cool weather’ and was pleasantly surprised by how uncrowded Tassie was and particularly notes her love of the little villages and towns she visited.

Melissa originally wrote for MIRA under the romance umbrella before she was given the chance and explore other genres, in this case a brand of crime/thriller, which she calls ‘romantic suspense’. Melissa explains that the strong relationships documented in the books take them as step beyond conventional romance novels.

We chatted about Melissa’s most recent and very original novel ‘Beneath the skin’ the story of Elly Lavender a flying doctor who is seeking to evade a former patient who has been stalking her. With her stalker strides away she seeks assistance from her childhood love Adam Jepson who is now an outback policeman. The character of Elly is from an indigenous background and Melissa was prompted to write the novel after researching her own Aboriginal heritage. 

Adam has suffered his own pain from the loss of his wife and son in an accident and is attempting to rebuild a life for himself and his daughter Zoe. Elly enters this fragile environment bringing hope as she rekindles love for Adam and becomes an exceptional female role model for Zoe. Unfortunately the arrival of Elly’s stalker means she is torn, with the knowledge her presence in town is a threat to her new family.

Melissa James, ‘Beneath the skin’ is out now published by MIRA